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Reforms Needed in Cuyahoga Juvenile Detention Center

November 8, 2018 | Written by Dan Margolis

Juvenile detention centers have a few purposes. First and foremost, they remove dangerous juveniles from the community. Second, they provide an opportunity for rehabilitation. While an adult prison focuses on punishment, juvenile facilities are intended to identify what each juvenile offender needs and how they may be helped. Unfortunately, it appears that the Cuyahoga Juvenile Detention Center is failing in this regard. The facility is consistently in the news because of problems like abuse by guards or large fights among the youths. These issues have raised a discussion regarding the need for reforms at the center.

If you need to speak to a juvenile defense lawyer in Cuyahoga County, contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC at (216) 533-9533. We offer free consultations and are here to find the best possible result for your son or daughter.

The Current State of the Cuyahoga Juvenile Detention Center

The Cuyahoga Juvenile Detention Facility is facing a variety of issues, such as:

  • Increased population. A law change in 2013 allows fewer juveniles to be sent to adult prisons when they turn 18 or if their case is transferred to the adult system. This has increased the population of juvenile detention centers and means 19 and 20 years old are being housed with 14 and 15-year-olds.
  • A Mixture of violent and non-violent offenders: Right now violent juvenile offenders are combined with non-violent juvenile offenders. The adolescents are not strategically separated within the facility based on their circumstances and characteristics.
  • Insufficient staff: Many believe the juvenile detention is understaffed. The facility needs more guards in relation to how many juveniles are housed at the facility.
  • Insufficient training: In addition to more staff, all of the guards and other staff members would benefit from more training.
  • Insufficient management: Many within the juvenile court system and local law enforcement believe the detention center suffers from poor management in regard to its resources and staffing, which is supported by a report compiled by the sheriff’s department. The report stated there were serious operational flaws.
  • Abuse and mistreatment: There have been multiple reports of abuse and mistreatment by the guards toward juveniles in the facility, including reports of guards encourage fights between youths or dousing youths with urine.
  • Defective security system: Karen Lippman, Deputy Director of Fiscal Resources, has stated that the detention center has also been dealing with security system issues, including problems with the detention management system, door locks, and security cameras.
  • Limited budget: Many of the issues with the detention facility are based on a limited budget. A more reasonable budget could allow for more staff and training. Juvenile Administrative Judge Kristin Sweeney asked for an increase in the facility’s budget, and the county council recommended adding $4.8 million to the juvenile court’s budget, which encompasses the juvenile detention facility.

There are indeed issues within Ohio’s juvenile facilities, but there are various ways to improve things. With additional staff and more training, as well as a more strategic placement of juveniles, a great deal could change for the better.

Is Your Child in Trouble With the Law?

If your child has entered the Ohio juvenile justice system, it should not be taken lightly. It is time to contact an attorney. While detention facilities are a necessary fixture, it is often best to keep your child at home. At The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC, we will fight to keep your child out of a juvenile detention facility. We will also fight for them to receive the resources they need instead of a harsh punishment.

To learn more about how we can help your child when they face juvenile charges, call us at (216) 533-9533 or schedule a consultation through our online contact form.

Attorney Margolis is not currently providing free consultations nor accepting new clients. Please be advised that contact form submissions and calls may not be returned.